[Journal] Round the Twist

It’s been a little while since I updated this blog, and it’s my fault. We did the house move, I got really sick for a while, had a massive flare, had a hard drive crash, wrestled with depression and was generally either in bed or at an appointment. I probably could have written a journal in the mean time, but I was pretty emotionally exhausted and have been dealing with settling in issues here and, honestly, I couldn’t outlay the energy to write a big, long blog update and deal with things on my end as well. So now that I’ve managed to calm things down a little on this end, I can update you all and let you know I’m still here.

So, to begin. Moving was a hassle. Not so much for the physical moving of boxes, but Manthing and I have moved in from a small 3 bedroom house on our own to the even smaller family 2 bedroom home. It’s been a process of culling furniture, playing tetris with boxes to maximise space, clearing out 20 years of hoarding from a garage and generally destroying dustbunnies in any way I can. My mother is a lovely woman but, due to her own fairly rough past, has a history of some mental health issues which are self-perpetuating with her unhealthy behaviour at present. Manthing and I, amongst other reasons, have moved in here in order to hopefully help her, keep her company and ease her back into the world at her own pace. She now has reason to get out and leave the house, eats well (Because I’m an amazing cook!) and has reasonable expectations set for behaviour and routine. Long story short, it’s a good thing.

The problem I face is that this is also the house I left when I was 18 and my mother and I historically have not had the best relationship. I find a lot of her behaviour incredibly frustrating and senseless, and I’m often a little on the snippy side with her and Manthing since I’ve had nothing but above-average pain levels since moving here. It’s somewhat of a tetchy matter and something we’re working towards, but the situation is highly unpredictable due to the present mental health issues in this house. I don’t often know if I’m speaking to my mother or a 16 year old and since these aren’t issues she will address herself, I’m rather at a stalemate about the whole thing and the best I can do is take each day as it comes and do my best to be understanding about it all.

I’ve also had to resign with a new Disability Employment Support service due to policy changes – everyone under 35 and on disability pension is now considered a lazy, layabout dole bludger and MUST return to work, regardless of their personal circumstances. I’ve taken great pains over the last 6 months to explore my educational options and I’d sincerely like to follow up and complete my Vet Nursing studies with a view to continue on to Vet Science, but it has to be done at a snails pace with my body and neurological issues. I’d also enjoy furthering my silversmithing skills and learning how to manufacture set-stone and silver jewellery, but the course arrangements for that make it almost impossible.  But, it’s been decided for me that I must return to work, despite also running a small business. You know, the small business that doesn’t make minimum wage presently due to my shit health? Yeah. So under present circumstances I’m being forwarded for admin/reception jobs I have no say over.

At this point it only looks like one or two days a week, which should be fine in theory, but I’m rather concerned about what’s going to happen when I have a repeat of the last 2 weeks where I have no choice but to spend it in bed or face hospitalisation. I’m damn good at that line of work and can run an entire corporate office while half asleep (and have done so in the past!), but I’m concerned about the days I can’t work properly, I have to go home early or can’t turn up at all. If I don’t make my weekly hours, my pension gets cut entirely and Manthing and my mother don’t have enough to cover the cost of my bills and medication through just the two of them.

So, in the mean time, I’m doing my best to get the business up and happening again, despite everything being in storage. The reason you haven’t seen anything of the 100 Unicorns Project these last few weeks is because I was busy turning my last drawing into a completed colouring page for sale via PDF. It was a little bit of a runabout considering it was my very first, but I learned a lot from the process that will make it much easier for me with the next one. My plan is to release a whole bunch of colouring pages for sale in my Etsy store that will, at the very least, put a few dollars a fortnight into my pocket to make it easier to pay for other things. I considered starting a Paetron for this blog, but I don’t think I offer enough to warrant people contributing towards the blog financially. Furthermore, I think that the few people that follow this blog have health issues of their own which isn’t a cheap thing, so their money would be better spent going towards their own bills rather than paying for me to write and draw. At least with the colouring pages, there’s an actual transaction taking place – they buy the colouring page, they get something for their money. I’m still deliberating wheather I should put the link to the listing here or not, since this blog provides me a degree of anonymity and my shop breaches that. I suppose if enough people are interested in spending two dollars on a page, I would consider it, but that’s not the purpose of this blog post.

“Over the weekend I was referred to a potential new GP. The incident left me rather upset and I wrote a quick post about it on another site, and I figured it was finally time for me to post it here.

So today I saw a potential new GP. I knew we wouldn’t see eye to eye when the first thing out of his mouth was that one of my two major debilitating conditons was psychological and he didn’t believe in it, amongst other things.

While I firmly acknowledge that a good portion of pain management and mitigation comes from a good headspace and that stress and psychological hiccups will increase my pain levels and potentially CAUSE flares for me, disregarding factual evidence based in scientific publications in favour of willful ignorance to uphold your baised and outdated views is frankly a breech of the hipocratic oath. Disregaring the research of fellow doctors and the confirmation of verified conditions in the form of a diagnosis is disrespect for your colleagues and, most importantly, blatantly denying the very real symptoms I face on a faily basis ignores the fact that I am not just a record sheet. I am a human being whose existence and suffering and joy and sadness is as real as anyone else’s. You can not ignore the patient in favour of the medicine. You can’t seperate the condition from the afflicted.

I’ve gone through countless versions of this experience when I see a new doctor for the first time, and it never gets any easier when it happens. If i had a broken arm or fractured pelvis, a quantifiable and documentable deviation from health, you would never dream of telling me that I should just “get my shit together” and “get on with life”. My condition would be real and visible and if you told me that the fracture was purely in my head, you would be booted out of medicine, called a complete imbicle and everyone would hoo ra in behind me about how inconsiderate you were.

Life with an invisible illness stretches so far beyond “I’m sick” that it’s often impossible to explain it to people who have never experienced anything like it. It’s not just the struggle of your own body working against you. It’s having to fight to have people believe you because you pass as healthy and able bodied. It’s having medical practitioners tell you that they don’t believe you or that they don’t believe in the condition. It’s being questioned every time you need pain medication. It’s being labled a drug seeker, an attention whore, lazy, unmotivated and even a hypochondriac. It’s having every action scrutinised by people who deny the truth of your existence, and it still being acceptible for them to vocally deny your issues. It’s a fight. Every single day. Not just against your own body, but against the world. For some people it’s just against doctors. For others, it’s against your friends and family too.

It’s the uncertainty of knowing whether you will be believed and it’s not wanting to talk about your illnesses because of it. It’s wanting so badly to pass as healthy to avoid the scrutiny and yet hating every single second that the beast you’re fighting is invisible to everyone but yourself and the rare few that know that monster, too.

And it fucking sucks.”

 

I figure this might be something people can relate to. I’m still very exhausted from everything that’s happened over the past few weeks, so I might leave this blog entry off here and do my best to keep some more regular posting from here on in.

❤ Abi

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[Journal] Bringing you up to speed and 100 unicorns project

So, some of you may have noticed that all my journals since January have been rather short and there hasn’t been an abundance of activity on my blog. I’m here to explain why.

Back towards Christmas, we knew my grandmother wasn’t doing so well. She was very old, had seen a lot of shit in her time and her whole body was shutting down on her after years of medication abuse, two open heart surgeries and enough other health issues that make me look like a Spring chicken. When she passed away around the 17th of January, it was sad but no real surprise. I’m fairly certain the only thing that kept her holding on so long was her sheer stubbornness, both a blessing and a curse that all European women seem to have.

We got past the funeral, barely. With family issues (because there is always family issues at a funeral) seen to with as much grace as I could muster, we got to the paperwork and the Will. Everything’s set in motion and I found out where we stood on a few matters regarding the house, inheritance and, again, family. This is after spending roughly a fortnight pulling my hair out, swearing in every language I know and wanting to set people’s pubes on fire.

So, with that being one of the shortest run-downs of an overly bullshit and dramatic time that I think I’ve ever written, we’re back up to date and the situation stands thus:

The manthing and I are moving. Yes, again.

We had been in this present rental roughly a year and the universe caught wind of how nice and peaceful things had been and decided to let off a metric tonne of napalm under our arses. What it boils down to is that my mother dearest can’t live alone. Now that’s not to say that she’s physically incapable of it, but moreso her mental health suffers greatly from being isolated to the point where she barely leaves the house. She needs human company. While manthing and I will enjoy not having to pay rent for a while, at this point it’s a secondary consideration.

Once we move back home, we’ll handle the rest of the Will and estate bullshit, eventually sell the place, end up moving to another rental closer to where we want to live in 9 months or so, and then finally buying somewhere permanent where my mother will remain with us.

In between all of this, I’ve had two major flares, have been working on packing an entire house into boxes and all sorts of mundane bullshit at the same time, which is why the posts have been short and sporadic at best. Manthing and I are presently at the point where we’re at the apex of the move. Roughly half the house is packed and in boxes (and I’m taking a well-deserved break from it all to write this), so in theory that means I should have a little more time for blogging and comic writing in the next few weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.

Now for the fun part. I’ve started something I’ve decided to call the 100 unicorns project. I know. The name is just so full of imagination.

What this boils down to is that, over the next… well, whenever, to combat my depression and anxiety, I will be drawing unicorns. 100 of them, to be exact. Now, I had planned to do 365 days of unicorns, and paled at the thought of having to hold the pencil with my foot while in the shower trying to bathe the pain away, so I figured 100 was much more reasonable. I could space them out every few days, or do three in a day, so long as I stuck to the plan and kept drawing. They could be sketches, paintings or even some kind of jewellery item, so long as they fit the theme.

It’s nothing too crazy, but I adore unicorns and I also like not feeling like shit. And you all seem to like drawings, so it’s the perfect motivation. So, you all have 100 unicorns to look forward to over the next (hopefully) 9 months or so. That’s two a week and then a few on the side, right? Anyway, back to packing!

[Journal] Depression is like mold…

So, tonight I decided that having depression is a bit like fighting brown mold from the Pathfinder universe.

Brown mold is an interesting thing. It’s a pretty standard looking thing that you find plastered to walls and floors in dungeons, and when left alone it’s more or less harmless. However, when you encounter the brown mold, that’s where things get interesting. When it finds a source of heat (see: endothermic creatures, adventurers, pets, etc.), it feeds off that heat and draws it from any surrounding sources until they are ice cold. Anything within range of it’s draw begins to take cold damage as it eats away at the heat source magically. If you blast it with fire to try and destroy it, it simply doubles in size and continues on it’s merry existence.

Depression is an interesting thing. It’s pretty standard and most people have experienced it. You find little seeds of it stuck inside people, and when everything is going well, it’s more or less harmless. However, when you encounter depression head on because it’s been set off, that’s where things get interesting. When it finds a source of happiness (friends, family, favourite things, etc.), it feeds of that joy until it’s source has been extinguished – replaced by the same apathy and misery depression makes. People within range of someone affected by depression begin to take friendship damage as the condition causes the sufferer to push people away and find isolation, something that’s not always visible. If you drag the sufferer out into a social event or force them into ‘fun’, the depression doubles in size and leads to further feelings of isolation and sadness.

My life is undergoing some pretty big changes right now. Like. Literally life changing changes. And I’d doing my best to take it in my stride, but I’m no saint and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m actually afraid of change. I’ll run at it with a warrior’s face when I have to, but by the same token, I’m happy to just sit here and mind my own business and just do my own thing. This change has unsettled me. It’s changed the way I interact with people, it’s changed what I’ve been doing with my time and it changes how much patience I’ve had over the last few weeks -both with other people and myself.

It’s honestly starting to show. Because on one hand, I’m handling things damn well. I got through a funeral, helped with the prep, organised 50% of everything, have held things together and not slapped heads when relatives made truly horrid comments on the day, and then called my mum after to repeat them. I’m helping with the legal matters. I’m sorting the house. I’m slowly adjusting to the life changes I’m facing. I’m doing a damn fine job. On the other hand, my depression is out of hand, my anxiety is a dickweed, I feel I can count on one hand the friends that are actual friends and my body is an asshole. I feel like I’m fraying at the edges while simultaneously being the atlas of my world right now. And it’s incredibly confusing because I feel like I can’t be both of them at the same time.

I’m going to leave the blog here for tonight because I’m just too damn exhausted to analyze the situation much further. But I do plan on having at least one comic this week if everything goes to plan. Anyway, it’s almost 2am. I’ll pick up more on this another night.

[Journal] Tonight is a bad night

There’s simply nothing to make one feel more alone in the world than knowing that if you publicly ask for help, all the wrong people are going to answer.

Tonight isn’t a good night for me. It’s now almost 3am and that means I’ve been sitting on the very cusp of a full-blown anxiety attack for almost 9 hours. Despite taking all my medication and two beta-blockers (which are supposed to help with the fight/flight response), I’ve not been able to calm down. I’m on the edge of tears over nothing at all. I literally cried because I watched an episode of My Little Pony. I don’t know, really.

I’m in both physical and emotional pain, the latter being the worse of the two tonight. I’ve tried everything that normally helps. Everything. Hell, I’ve tried to go out and do a thing, have a social life and expand my brain a bit. Just shrug off the fear that some kind of horrible doom is impending or that life as I know it will crumble before me. I had a thumping heart and adrenaline rush the whole way there, the whole time I was there and the whole way home. I’m somewhere between proud of myself for achieving what I have so far, and filled with crippling doubt and emotional exhaustion.

Tonight is one of those nights where I wanted desperately to reach out to a friend, but because of the time and the day, nobody I want to talk to about something like this was around. I don’t hold it against any of them. I spoke to manthing, but sometimes you just want to talk to someone who hasn’t heard it all before, and I feel like the ones that were available would hear me, but wouldn’t actually listen.

I’m hesitant to write about personal issues and things involving friends on my blog these days, namely because I know that a few follow it through one way or another. A major fear of mine is that, in revealing how I really feel about things, I’ll face repercussions for it in person. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve deliberately kept this blog entirely anonymous. On that note, I will expect any individual that knows me in person to show me the respect I deserve here and not confront me over my views and feelings. If you respect me as a person and, indeed, as a friend, you will understand that sometimes one simply can’t be upfront and honest in the way we intent. We don’t want to hurt feelings or upset people, but to deny our own reactions and emotions is exactly what put me in this shitty place tonight to begin with.

I have some bad people in my life right now, and it really comes to the fore on a night like tonight when there’s a stark realisation that all my mental health support network no longer exists. Once upon a time, I had a ‘family’, I had close friends, I had people I called brother and sister and I felt safe. I felt like, even though I might come across monsters in the dark, I would always have those people behind me. In the last year, everything changed. People I trusted abused my emotions in the worst possible ways. In unforgivable, selfish, twisted ways when I begged for help and respite. My needs were shunted aside when I needed people most, while they marched up and dumped their life on my doorstep and looked at me expectantly. People I trusted beyond what I probably should have. People that I respected and gave a little bit of myself to. “Keep it safe, please”. Instead, they used it as a front door to my emotions and time. They played on my emotions and my intrinsic need to have people in my life when it was obvious to everyone but me that this was doing more harm than good.

So tonight, when I need someone to turn to, someone to tell me that “you know what, it’s going to be okay. I know you’re afraid now, you’re allowed to be afraid, but it’ll get better and you won’t need the fear tomorrow, so leave it here”, I have a crushing sense of loneliness. Even when manthing is one room over. I need these people in my life again. The friends, the lovers, the family, and I have only empty spaces where my impression of people once stood; their figures having wandered somewhere far from here, leaving only disappointment and child-like pain in their shadows. I find myself on a night like tonight struggling with demons that often feel lager than myself, and instead of people that listen, I have people who hear what they want and talk about themselves. I have people that tell me they understand and, on nights like tonight, I find that more of an insult than a comfort, because they don’t. They can’t feel my heart beating into a cavity the child in me has carved out with scratching nails and wild eyes. They can’t see the way it’s filled with terror from everything – named and nameless – and they don’t understand that the one thing I need tonight is someone who will truly listen and simply say “I am here for you. Please talk to me. Let me listen”.

Instead, I have people that ignore my outright plea for help to substitute it for something else that they find more fitting. Instead of understanding that, ultimately, I need to walk through this on my own, but want someone to wait for me at the other side, they walk next to me and tell me about all the woes and troubles they’re facing and do nothing but load the wagon I’m dragging down an already rocky road. I know if the wheels fall off, they won’t stop to help. They will take my stopping as a queue to simply heap more baggage on. I say this with experience.
Any other night I take that on willingly. Any other night, I grit my teeth as a simple greeting becomes a segue for them spewing their grief on me and expecting me to be a therapist. I’m not, and I likely never will be, by choice. I find my friendships abused time and time again by people mistaking my concern for their welfare for an open invitation to dump their life story on me and then demand I fix it for them. But not tonight.

Tonight I have been afraid of making it known that I need help, because the people that will answer are the ones with an agenda – they’re the ones time and time again that will see my unhappiness and take that as an excuse to ride the misery wagon in what they seem to think is tandem. The problem is that they don’t help me pull, they sit and expect me to do the work, and I’m finding that time and time again, that hurts more than all the fear and heartache in the world – knowing that this person holds their own issues in higher regard than yours but wraps them up in paper and presents them to you as a gift, and expects you to say thank you.

I have some beautiful, wonderful people in my life. I have the people that tell me that I’ve always got someone on my side, I have the ones that DO understand because I know they’ve walked that road before. I have people that respect my boundaries and, while we can commiserate together, they know that everyone has limits, including themselves. Right now, however, is one of those rare times when I feel that none of these people are around. They very well might be, but in one of those silly moments where I want to show them the same consideration they’ve shown me as a friend, I find myself very hesitant to message someone at 3am just to talk. I suppose this is somewhat of a self-dug hole where I find myself placing the needs of others before my own, but friendships are about give and take, not clinging to a drowning man and expecting him to take you back to shore.

Tonight, I am unwell. I have a sickness, a malaise of the mind and heart that is just as real as any other kind of injury or disease. Tonight I am going to crawl into bed, curl up close to manthing and do the same thing I would do for any cold or flu – sleep it off and hope I feel a little better tomorrow.

A long day’s night

Good lord I am tired. In fact, if there’s something beyond the feeling of tired, then I am that. I am utterly exhaustipated (n): – too tired to give a shit.

Yesterday took it out of me more than I thought. I admit, I was really stupid for taking that market on like I did, but there was a lot of good that came of it all. I made a slight profit (which means I covered petrol and stall fees. This is very good!) by maybe $10, but baby steps. I got to use my new marquee. I got to see old faces and I got to dress manthing up while he fell asleep. The drive home in the rain was crazy and there were too many accidents. I ended up just falling into bed once I saw my friend/stall minion for the day off home.

Had to get the car in for a service today and I haven’t been able to brain since. Woke up at 8:30am, groan, drool, yawn, etc. Drove in, manthing drove me home. I had intended to get about and do stuff, but body went “No, we’re sleeping NOW” and I passed out until 1:30pm. Woke up, yelled at lazy ass hat housemate who didn’t go to work because of excuses (don’t get me started on that bullshit) and had to get my stuff together to feed the two new baby birds in the house. More stuff to do. Can’t brain. My head feels like it’s made out of wet concrete. Massive ow flare, went to get it massaged out (my little treat on a blue moon) and it’s only 7:41pm and I am ready to pass out on the keyboard. I’m in pain, I’m shit-for-brains, I’m irritable and I am so, so, so exhausted. The kind of tired to the point where my hands aren’t coordinating and I can spend a good thirty seconds looking at a digital clock and still not know what the time is. I have to retype every other word at this point, but I haven’t had dinner and manthing won’t let me go to bed on an empty stomach (I love him to bits) so I need to wait another 40 for the oven to do the thing where the food is cooked.

At this point, I’d have a bath, but I’m not even certain I could get in or out wihtout help, and might actually fall asleep in it. That would be bad. Also, thank god for spellcheck or half this would be entirely unreadable.

I’m also really, really not looking forward to tomorrow. It’s my biological mother’s birthday. I very rarely talk about family members on here, but we have a tenacious history at best. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say there’s about 10 years of child abuse and 18 years of a few other kinds that she’s very much tied to (and could have prevented) but didn’t. I’ve gone my own ways. I can’t forgive her for what she did, or failed to do as the case may be, but I keep contact with her at a comfortable distance. She’s not at a stage with her own mental health where she can accept any of it, so there’s no point in beating my head against a brick wall. The best thing I could have done for our relationship was move out of home, and get my own life on track, and so far it’s worked pretty well. I do my own thing, she does her thing and tells me about it every other day. I keep her updated on my health when I can, she frets and frets and offers silly suggestions but it’ all her way of trying to show she cares.

Point is, my sister has decided she’s going to come back and be family again (after her stint as “I’m an eighteen year old, you can’t tell me what to do!”) and now that I’m living in a decent house, she’s decided that we should do dinner for mum at mine. I appreciate that she wants to do it here so I can be comfortable and don’t have to travel, but when someone says dinner, I think 6-7pm. Apparently that’s not going to happen and I need to expect a full house at 8:30-9pm, and I feel really old in saying this, but those few hours make a hell of a difference. Especially with how I’m feeling today. I’m praying to Odin’s hairy left testicle that I feel better by tomorrow because I sure as hell don’t have the strength to deal with this shit right now.

Anyway, I’m going to not think about it too much and see if I cant just lie down for a bit. Maybe grab one of those smoothie breafast things for dinner and just crash out. I am so tapping out of today.

Can I go back to bed now?

I’ll be honest with you all. Today pretty much sucked. In fact, the suck rating is so high that it’s only 5pm and I’m willing to bet that the time between now and bed will also suck pretty hard, too.

After having a really motivated night, I crawled into bed, fell asleep within 10 minutes and only woke up once last night. That’s kind of a new record for me. Unfortunately, when I woke up in the morning, it was more like a scene from Shaun of the Dead than that bitch Snow White being woken up with her kiss. I walked into two doorframes, nearly tripped over my pants while trying to have my morning pee, eventually made it back to the kitchen and tried to make a bowl of cereal sans bowl, put my phone in the fridge and took the milk back to my desk to send a text.

Image

On the upside, I still had a visit from my sister and her incredibly adorable spawn to look forward to, right? Yeah, about that. I got the following message from my body:

Yeah, we know you had plans and all, but there’s been some scheduled maintenance for a week now set for today. Oh, you didn’t get the memo? Well, we sent it out. Clearly the issue is on your end. Anyway, back to the mainta- … Yes. We’re aware that we could have scheduled the work to be done while you were asleep already, but you’re sick. We figured you wouldn’t have plans anyway.

Oh. You DO have plans? Well, we didn’t get the memo. (Further proof the issue is on YOUR end, not ours) Point is, you needed to be asleep an hour ago. Don’t like it? Too bad. We’re hitting system shut down in 5 minutes. You can either be in bed where you’re comfy, or wake up drooling on the keyboard again.

Your call.

 

Sincerely,

Management

So, aside from coming to the conclusion that my body is a complete, engorged, throbbing dick, I did my best and lived in hope. Surely I only needed an hour or two of sleep, right? I could pick back up in the afternoon, still see family, maybe even cook dinner for everyone and we’d have an awesome time, right? RIGHT?

Gogo 4:20pm. I wrench my eyes open to the sound of my phone screaming at me for the 3rd time in the last 20 minutes as manthing attempts to ascertain whether I’m actually around or whether I’ve eloped with the postman. I manhandle my phone to mash out something semi-coherent, letting him know I’m still alive (fat thumbs do not a touchpad’s friend make), try to make sense of the platitude of nightmares I had to deal with (everything from being at a carnival to suddenly being Arwen from LoTR, being back at home, trying to run away with Ron Weasly, calling the police on my father and then trying to retrieve a precious set of books from the garage. Meds are fun, kids!) and then before you know it, it’s time to jump in the car, get petrol, get dinner and try not to maul anyone at the shopping centre.

On the upside for today, I don’t have to cook dinner. Yay.